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Leveraging platforms to achieve speed at scale- Tom Varsavsky (ThoughtWorks Live)

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Leveraging platforms to achieve speed at scale- Tom Varsavsky (ThoughtWorks Live)

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Tom shares the story behind the development of Colab, a branded platform of technology components that can be shared across the business. Treating this platform as a product helps executives and product managers, as well as developers, understand and embrace the REA technology strategy.

Tom shares the story behind the development of Colab, a branded platform of technology components that can be shared across the business. Treating this platform as a product helps executives and product managers, as well as developers, understand and embrace the REA technology strategy.

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Leveraging platforms to achieve speed at scale- Tom Varsavsky (ThoughtWorks Live)

  1. 1. Leveraging Platforms to Achieve Speed at Scale
  2. 2. Product development is a team sport We believe teams win when they have •Proximity to their customer •A clear mission •Adequate resources •Autonomy to make decisions
  3. 3. SCM Deployment Pipelines Infrastructure automation Identity and Access Management Monitoring, alerting and logging Artefact repository Batch computing Auditing and compliance Container orchestration Deployment automation Secrets management Security patching The many technical challenges of a team Infrastructure APIs & Data User Experience Usage and analytics End-user Identity Experiment infrastructure User analytics Client-side monitoring Style guides Page construction Personalisation Content distribution Service discovery Load balancing and throttling API authentication and authorisation API documentation Monitoring of services Data discovery Data orchestration Data governance Self-service reporting Data publication
  4. 4. Customer
  5. 5. Customer
  6. 6. Customer
  7. 7. Customer
  8. 8. Factoring out commonality Commonality APIs and Data User Experience Infrastructure
  9. 9. Central Infrastructure Team Customer
  10. 10. REA in 2017
  11. 11. Growing sense of frustration Product: 
 “Why does it take so long to get a product out?”  Engineers: 
 “I’m spending a lot of time doing the same things over and over again” CFO: 
 “How do we manage our cost growth?” CEO: 
 “How do we improve productivity?”
  12. 12. Platform maturity vs investment levels Infrastructure APIs & Data User Experience 26% 8% Investment %Platform Maturity 66%
  13. 13. Why is re-use so hard? • Projects and platforms at the same time is an illusion - incentive mismatch • Team autonomy optimises 
 for project delivery and not global efficiency • Hard to account for dispersed costs of low re-use • Picking right things to re-use 
 & and timing is hard
  14. 14. Adoption of Shipper — an internal deployment tool 0 600 2015 2016 2017
  15. 15. ✓ Solves a real, constant problem that almost 
 all teams have ✓ Strong vision for what the tool should do 
 (and not do) ✓ Ongoing investment ✓ Great user support ✓ Good documentation ✓ Classroom style of training ✓ Easy upgrade path ✓ Open to feedback and contributions 
 from users What made it a success? Product Management!
  16. 16. Tip 1 
 Apply product thinking to your internal platform
  17. 17. “Platform”
  18. 18. Colab brand DX - Developer Experience Delivery Tools Data End-user tech APIs
  19. 19. A Colab product has A Product Manager who defines: Roadmaps, audiences, metrics, 
 business cases, adoption strategies 
 and comms plans. Well-defined clients Relevancy Marketing Plan AT T R I B U T E S O F A C O L A B P R O D U C T Support Great Doco Success Metrics High Quality A Custodian who keeps quality by: Trimming the backlog, advancing tech, providing support for users, maintaining documentation and upholding SLAs. A Destination where teams can: Search and read documentation, make contributions, see examples, learn, request features, provide feedback and contribute back.
  20. 20. Colab Manifesto Serving others over protecting oneself Aligned autonomy over unconstrained autonomy Long-term thinking over short-term gains REA benefit over team benefit Products as assets over projects as assets
  21. 21. Tip 2 
 Use brand and icons to tell the platform story
  22. 22. Previous platform effort in hindsight • Building for future needs, not current problems • Timing mismatch between today’s needs and time required to build future proof solution • No platform vision, principles or culture change to go with the capabilities
  23. 23. Colab product lifecycle* *Lean Enterprise - Jez Humble, Barry O’Reilly & Joanne Molesky EXPLORE EXPLOIT SUSTAIN Test usefulness of platform concept Harvest platform capabilities and scale Evolution of established LIFECYCLE STAGE RETIRE Decommission capabilities that are no longer valuable Centralise ownership and drive adoption / convergence Maintain relevance and usefulnessAPPROACH Encourage divergence to test multiple options Set sunset date and help customers migrate REQUIREMENT • Clear ownership • Resource allocation • Product management • Documentation • Advocacy • Training • Consulting services • Capacity in team with need to experiment • Forums to share lessons laterally • Clear ownership • Small amount of capacity for BAU • Supported upgrade paths • Health monitoring • Clear migration method • Consulting services to help migrate • Resource allocation to retire and clean up
  24. 24. Pave the path* • Find common problems that many teams are solving • Harvest the best solutions and create platform products • Make it easy to do the right thing by providing a great product and customer experience *See Neflix Literature
  25. 25. Tip 3 Harvest the platform and pave the path
  26. 26. Autonomy vs leverage? AutonomyLeverage Move towards leverage as the organisation grows
  27. 27. Product vs platform teams • Primary goal is to drive leverage. • Product Teams are the customer. • Builds and maintains things that many Product Teams rely on. • Takes a long term, strategic, sustainable view. • Owns mostly core systems. • Slower rate of change, somewhat shielded from short term commercial pressures. Platform Team Product Team • Primary goal is to serve the market. • Own the products that customers interact with. • Takes a long term, sustainable view for some products and a speculative/experimental view for others. • Own mostly “leaf” systems. • Faster rate of change to meet market pressures. Both have autonomy to make decisions in the interest of their customers
  28. 28. Customer Product Teams Platform Teams
  29. 29. Use customer KPIs to measure success Customer Primary Drivers Success Metrics External Revenue Internal Leverage Adoption • Number of customers, consumption by customer, consumption by product Service • Number of issues raised, time to respond, time to close Customer Satisfaction • NPS, survey feedback Performance • Uptime, throughput, response time Delivery Efficiency • Velocity, cycle time, roadmap delivery Product Team Platform Team
  30. 30. People & skills New roles • Technical Product Manager • Technical Writer • Developer Advocate • Trainer New Skills • Product Management • Stakeholder management and influencing • Customer research
  31. 31. Tip 4 Organise for autonomy AND leverage
  32. 32. REA Tech Building Blocks
  33. 33. Tomas Varsavsky, Chief Engineer Twitter @tvars Tech blog https://rea.tech

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